Tuesday, June 04, 2019

How writing can help with your mental health – an author’s musings

An author’s musings on their writing journey
I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember but writing is better than therapy. I’m that person who always pictures the worse-case scenarios, take hours, to fall asleep and is still awake when the sun comes up.

Medication barely helps my tightened chest and I lack the focus for meditation. My mind wanders too often and my whole body fidgets. Sometimes I even laugh because I don’t know what else to do.
Writing drowns out the noise in my head – maybe because I’m focusing on fictional characters and storylines far removed from the real world. At work on my breaks, if my mind starts to spin out of control, writing for a few minutes straight helps me refocus. People cope with anxiety in different ways but writing with some form of exercise helps me.

But being an author, brings a whole new level of worry. Not everyone will support you. The rejections sting every time. Negative feedback can dampen your confidence, erasing every glowing review. I often wondered whether my efforts were worth it or if my writing skills were good enough. With an industry full of self-doubt, it’s so important to find your tribe.

My mother encouraged me to enroll in a creative writing course at RMIT. This university in Melbourne, Australia does short courses that runs for 8-10 weeks for three hours a week after work. I loved every moment of the class and ended up doing three short courses. The teachers were inspiring, and it was great to speak to likeminded people. I workshopped my stories in class and continued with my manuscripts after the courses finished. At first, I was terrified of reading my work out to people, but the more I did this, the more I got used to the process. Everyone was always supportive and gave constructive feedback.

Yet, I never thought a traditional book contract would ever happen for me. To me, a book deal was equivalent to be an actor or a singer. The odds are so highly stacked against you. When I first received my contract from The Wild Rose Press for Law & Disorder, I kept reading the words in disbelief. Any moment I thought someone would say, “actually you suck and we’re taking the contract back”.

Now, I’m pleased Law & Disorder has come to life. Every time I receive a good review, it’s often a surprise to me. Perhaps it’s the anxiety talking. I am so grateful people have been enjoying my book.

Thanks for reading.


Author Bio
Liv Arnold has worked as a copywriter for several global companies and now runs her own freelance business. She grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and lives with her husband and their spoiled dog, who only eats freshly cooked meals. When she’s not writing, Liv’s avoiding the gym, devouring a cheese platter, or marathoning way too much TV. And of course, she’s a massive book addict and often reads until all hours of the night.

Law & Disorder blurb
Lawyer Juliet Jackson has come head to head with Sergeant Jesse Burns on numerous occasions in court. He is provoking. Pigheaded. Punch-worthy. They don't get along. Not one little bit. The unfortunate fact he's also her next-door neighbor brings her loathing off the charts. But when Juliet's caught locked outside her home in nothing but a skimpy towel, she must swallow her pride and turn to Jesse for help. She doesn't expect the explosive chemistry between them and can't help but wonder if Jesse's as demanding in the bedroom as he is in the courtroom.

Buy Law & Disorder

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CB Clark said...

I enjoyed this post. I think you and I are a lot alike, Liv. It's very challenging to keep the faith with all the noise going on in the world. This is not a business for the faint of heart, and that's why it's so important we authors support each other. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Excellent post! Glad you found your outlet. Keep it up, and all the best.

Mary Gillgannon said...

Excellent blog, Liv. I always said that writing changed my brain and helped cure my depression, for the same reasons you mentioned. It takes me away from my problems and relaxes me. Now that I'm older, it's not so much depression I suffer from, but anxiety, like you. I need to remember the positive/relaxing power of writing and get back into it. The distractions, pressures and anxiety of the need for promotion and productivity have robbed writing of its restorative powers. Somehow I need to block out those things and get back to the calm, happy place that writing used to take me to. Thanks so much for the reminder.

Sandra Dailey said...

If I couldn't hide inside one of my stories every day, I don't think my sanity would survive. I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

Liv Arnold said...

Aww thank you guys. I’m so glad this resonated with people. I sometimes thought I was being a weirdo.
CB- I know. Def need a thick skin to be in this industry.
Unknown- thanks so much for reading.
Mary - promo and marketing does take up a lot of time. I’m glad you have writing as your outlet too. When I’m writing it makes sense to me!
Sandra - you are definitely not alone. Maybe that’s why so many writers are introverts.

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